HOW TO REFINISH AND RESTORE EXTERIOR WOOD
With a few exceptions, wood that is exposed to the elements deteriorates quickly, endangering its structural integrity and aesthetic appeal. To protect and extend the life of outside wood, it should be sealed. Sealants can last decades, but once they begin to fail, it's time to refinish and reseal the wood to give it fresh life.
Proper preparation is essential when it comes to refinishing and resealing wood. Remove any old paint with a paint scraper or a high-pressure washer. If you want to paint the wood, use a medium grit sandpaper to blend any leftover paint edges with the exposed wood's surface. Remove any leftover paint with sandpaper if you want to stain previously painted wood. If the wood was previously stained and sealed rather than painted, sand it to make room for the new stain or paint. Using a brush and cleaning detergent, scrub the wood's surface, then rinse completely. Allow the area to dry for a few days before proceeding.
The type of sealer you employ is decided by the wood's intended usage. Paintable, priming, and finishing sealants are the three types of sealant. It's important to remember that sealants aren't recommended for residential wood siding. If you plan to stain or paint the wood, look for a paintable sealant. If you plan to paint the wood a dramatically different color, such as bleaching very black wood or darkening light wood, use a priming sealant. If you wish to retain the wood natural or add a glossy finish over stain or paint, use a finishing sealant. Apply the priming sealant or paintable sealant with a clean paintbrush or roller, following the manufacturer's directions. If you're not planning on painting the wood, now is the time to apply a finishing sealer. Start painting or staining the wood if it's not already done.
Staining and Painting
There are two ways to polish outside wood, both of which can act as sealants. Either of these methods can be used to seal wood siding. Staining comes first, followed by painting. Wood that has been exposed to the elements for a long time or that is rough benefits from staining. Brush or roll the stain into the wood's surface in a direction parallel to the length of the board. For the best results, stain one whole board or panel at a time to avoid lap marks. If the stain is really dark or the wood is very weathered, apply a second coat. Apply paint in a similar fashion, rolling or brushing it on with the grain of the wood in mind. Apply a second coat if necessary. While staining or painting, a paintbrush may be required to get into corners, edges, and seams.